2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybridEnlarge Photo
Something funny is happening at Ford. Despite very heavy competition from a host of automakers, Ford is gaining market share at a brisk pace -- and it's doing so thanks in part to the success of eco-friendly, tech-heavy cars and crossovers.
From January through May of this year, Ford gained nearly full point of market share in the U.S., ending at 16.2 percent. A full point may not sound like much, but remember, growing market share isn't just a matter of selling more vehicles; it's a matter of luring customers away from other brands.
That said, Ford also saw double-digit sales growth during the first five months of the year. On the whole, Ford sales have shot up 12 percent since the beginning of 2013.
Some of Ford's success is due to a focus on what it calls the "super segment", which consists of small and midsize cars and compact crossovers like the 2013 Ford Escape. These have proven very popular in urban areas, particularly along the east and west coasts of the U.S. In fact, according marketing research firm Polk, in those regions, Ford is just one percentage point of market share behind Honda -- one of the most popular brands on the coasts.
While Ford is undoubtedly drawing more customers these days, the company is also making more cash from upgrades. According to Jim Farley, Ford's head honcho for global marketing, "Customers are increasingly choosing highly equipped vehicles such as our Titanium models. We also see this in customers asking for our in-vehicle connectivity Sync and MyFord Touch systems, which are now in 79 percent of vehicles across the Ford brand – more than double the rate of Toyota and Honda infotainment systems."
As interesting as this news may be for green car fans, there are a few caveats we should mention: